School of Food Science and Nutrition

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"Our food industry employs 3.7 million people, contributing almost £90 billion to the economy. But there's a big skills gap across the food chain. The industry must attract more well qualified and ambitious candidates if it is to grow and innovate."

Jim Paice Former Minister of State for Agriculture and Food
Public health careers in food science and nutrition

Public health careers

Jobs in public health focus on improving health and quality of life through diet and food production.

The term ‘public health’ refers to the science of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organised efforts and informed choices of society, organisations and individuals. 

It is concerned with threats to health based on population health analysis. 

The population in question can be as small as a few people or as large as all the people in several continents. 

‘Health’ can include physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.

Careers in nutrition

Nutritionists are health professionals who develop healthy meal plans and who oversee meal preparation to make sure there’s a high-quality of nutrition in the diet. 

They often work in hospitals or other care settings, including nursing homes or school cafeterias, but many work for food manufacturers and retailers to help create healthy food products.

Nutritionists plan out meals according to the needs of their patients, and help prevent illnesses by including healthy foods that boost the immune system. 

Many nutritionists specialise in a certain area, such as clinical, management, community, or consultant dietitians or nutritionists.

Clinical nutritionists usually work in hospitals or other care settings and work with patients, creating a meal plan to fit their particular needs. 

Community nutritionists work in the public arena, promoting public health and educating the community on healthy eating practices. 

These individuals are often responsible for public health adverts regarding dietary habits, and sometimes provide educational seminars at schools to promote healthy eating.

Management nutritionists help to create meal plans and food products, and are responsible for ordering food supplies and monitoring the preparation and portion control of the food ingredients. 

Management nutritionists also sometimes work in hospitals, nursing homes, or other care settings, where meal plans are created for large groups of people. 

Consultant nutritionists generally have a private practice and work on an individual basis with their patients. 

They work with patients to create an individual meal plan aimed at losing weight or increasing overall health. 

Some consultant nutritionists also work with sports teams or other organizations to create healthy meal plans for athletes or other individuals.

Public health salaries

Nutritionists can earn between £30,000 and £45,000 a year. Those who work for the public health organisations tend to earn less than those in the private practice. 

There are also opportunities to conduct research in the lab, and these individuals often earn more per year than other nutritionists. 

There is much room for variation in terms of salary and job duties in this field. Many nutritionists eventually go on to specialise in a certain field, which may also increase salary.